Monday , May 29 2023

Company tries again to seek oil near Saba Bank

The Daily Herald writes that former Commissioner Julian Rollocks was recently appointed representative for St. Maarten on the board of directors of Saba Bank Resources N.V. Former acting General Secretary of Parliament Frank Hanze joins Rollocks on the board as a representative for Curaçao.

Will Johnson and Julian Rollocks of Saba Bank Resource NV
Will Johnson and Julian Rollocks of Saba Bank Resource NV

Board Chairman Will Johnson told The Daily Herald Thursday that the two new members had been appointed to represent “Shareholder D” – the combination of St. Maarten, Curaçao and the Netherlands. Shareholder D, with 35 per cent of the company’s shares, was the Netherlands Antilles prior to its dismantling in October 2010. Now those shares belong to St. Maarten, Curaçao and the Netherlands jointly. The other three shareholders of the remaining 65 per cent are St. Maarten, Saba and Curaçao. Johnson explained that Shareholder D had not put forward two board members since coming into possession of the shares of the Netherlands Antilles. This made the working of the company difficult, so the existing board had moved ahead to appoint suitable board members and had chosen one from St. Maarten and another from Curaçao.

The new board held a meeting at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino on Wednesday. Present were Melinda Hoeve, who is the representative for St. Maarten, Johnson, Roy Smith, Marcel Peterson for Saba, and Charles Lindo for St. Eustatius, Rollocks and Hanze for Shareholder D.

Moving forward, Johnson said the company would forward a letter to the Dutch Economic Affairs Minister to make adjustments to the sea border and other regulations to allow exploration for oil in the immediate area outside Saba Bank.

Johnson said since Saba and St. Eustatius became Dutch public entities, “a lot of laws about protection” had come into effect. However, the people of those islands have “rights to economic development.” For that reason the expansion of the exploration zone is crucial to the viability of the company. Rollocks added that exploration and the possible discovery of oil would greatly benefit St. Maarten’s people and those of the other islands.

Johnson said if the regulations are not changed, the board will have to move to dissolve the company, because it would make no sense to continue if no exploration can be carried out to seek oil. Saba Bank Resources N.V. is “a self-sustaining” company. When it was established in 1976, the then-Netherlands Antilles government poured NAf. 100,000 into it.

The company also gained quite some funds from fees paid by two oil exploration companies for the right to drill for oil. Both drilling efforts failed to hit oil. Saba Bank Resources also netted US $1 million from a third drilling company in a penalty fee for not following through on its contract to do exploration.

Johnson said the money has been invested wisely over the years in “high interest government bonds.” The company’s funds and its regular operations are overseen by Managing Director Clark Gomes- Casseres. He receives a nominal stipend for this work, while board members receive NAf. 250 per month.

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